In the previous ten rounds at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course, Jason Day had never broken 70. On Saturday morning he broke that streak, firing a six-under 66 to move up the leaderboard considerably at the Transitions Championship, with a 54-hole total of seven-under. Just a day earlier, he barely made the cut, draining a clutch seven-footer on his last hole, the ninth, to sneak in.
I texted his wife, Ellie, to confirm the length of the putt because you never know with ShotLink (sometimes they’re wrong). She replied, “Yes, seven-footer. It was scary, ugh.”
Added Ellie, “This has never been a good week for us, but turned it around today.”
Jason’s best finish came last year when he T61.
You see, Day’s move illustrates what Ryan Palmer told me on Wednesday — “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot,” he said. “If you shoot four or five under on the weekend, you have a good chance of moving up the leaderboard.”
Day played the three finishing holes, dubbed the “Snake Pit,” impressively, carding birdies on No. 16, ranked the hardest hole this week, and No. 17. Only needing 25 putts on Saturday, that made all the difference.
“The last two days I’ve actually hit it better than what the stats show,” he said. “I missed greens and missed fairways but only a couple of yards off the fairway or on the fringe of the greens.
“Today I just had everything going well. I hit the driver okay, but my irons were great to the greens and putted well. That’s the big thing is I putted better today than I did the last two days.”
While the leaders have yet to make the turn, Day is currently only three shots off the pace and plans to come out firing on Sunday.
“I think wherever the lead is, I’m going to try to shoot for that,” he said. “I’m very happy with how I played today, because I felt like it’s been coming closer and closer.”
Another round like Saturday’s would definitely put him right in the mix.
(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)